Nightwalker is a musical series of love letters to the nocturnal sights and sensations of Oslo throughout the years. Prolific and super productive pianist-composer-writer-poet Ketil Bjørnstad tells that a «nightwalker can hold an entire life in his head while he is walking», and he is a devoted nightwalker who likes to go out at night, all year long. He leaves his home at Frogner Plass and walks through Gustav Vigeland’s sculptures in Frogner Park where at the top of the park he could look over the Oslo fjord as far as Nesodden and watch the lights of the last flights landing at Fornebu, the old, atmospheric airport with a runway that continued all the way out into the Water; or in the streets of Oslo, near one of the cottages at Eftang, a coastal paradise between Sandefjord and Larvik, where a young girl I was very interested in used to go on holiday with her family.
The Nightwalker suite is based on both dreams and experiences, states of mind we all have, with their sudden shifts, and often «with a dramatic arc we don’t understand, because it is only afterward that we can grasp what happened and why things turned out as they did». Bjørnstad composed this in the course of the winter, spring and summer of 2022, «that dark year that none of us had envisaged». Bjørnstad’s wife Catharina Jacobsen took the photo of the blackbird for the cover of the album at thor garden by Bunnefjorden, and Bjørnstad took it as a greeting from the past, From Brahms, from the time he moved to Frogner Plass in 1967 and began walking through Frogner Park, the same time The Beatles recorded their song «Blackbird».
Bjørnstad recorded this intimate, romantic and beautifully immersive 23-part suite at Propeller Studio in Oslo in one day in December 2022 where he recorded his last albums, Sanger Ved Havets Begynnelse (Songs At The Edge Of The Ocean, Simax, 2023), Between Hotels And Time (Grappa, 2022). He played there on his beloved piano, Bechstein Grand Piano, Model C., on which he also played on other albums like Vindings Music – Songs From The Alder Thicket (ECM, 2012), Images/Shimmering (Grappa, 2015) and Between Hotels And Time. A few hours later Bjørnstad recorded again this suite on the studio’s vintage Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, Mark 1, Seventy Three, adding a ghostly intensity and atmospheric aroma to his nocturnal reflections, visions and dreams.
Ketil Bjørnstad (piano, Fender Rhodes)